May 2021 Print

Understanding the Social Doctrine of America’s New Religion

By Robert Morrison

The First Amendment of the Constitution begins with the statement that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” While legislators and courts have long debated the application of this idea, we know that “separation of church and state” is now a well-established principle that has been used in various ways to exclude Christianity from public places.

Although we might expect that this process of de-Christianizing America would result in a society in which religion was found only in homes, churches and religious schools, an objective observer could be forgiven for believing that religion has never been more dominant in America than it is today. Everywhere we turn in America, and throughout most of the world, we find the quasi-dogmas, moral judgments, censures, symbols, and worship services of a new and powerful religion that is completely transforming law and order.

To understand this new religion in its proper context, we ought to consider why America’s most prominent old religion—Christianity—was forced from the public square. Quite simply, the vocal minority has worked to exclude Christianity because it imposes moral judgments on nonbelievers. Without question, any society with laws must have implicit moral judgments about prohibited behavior. But opponents of religion will argue that such moralistic laws are derived from the need to maintain public order rather than from religious instinct. In isolation, and without considering the purpose of our lives or our duties to God, there is a certain logic to the idea that one could limit laws to those necessary to maintain public order.

With this in mind, we see one of the first paradoxes of the new religion when we examine whether it applies the same types of moral judgments that it rejects in Christianity. So what are the precepts of the new religion? Is this religion judgmental or instead permissive and accommodating? How extensive is the evangelization and catechesis?

We can answer these questions by reflecting on a few common epithets used to describe the new religion’s heretics and disbelievers: racist, (fill-in-the-blank)-phobic, misogynist, Nazi, conspiracy theorist, and domestic terrorist, among others. When politicians, educators and celebrities can freely apply these labels to skeptics of the new religion without fear of recourse, one can reasonably conclude that the new religion is highly judgmental and widely catechized.

Increasingly, the priests of the new religion go well beyond name-calling in their reshaping of society. African-Americans are exploited by politicians to foment perpetual division in society. “Climate change” is hysterically cited to dictate how we move from place to place, where we work, and what we can eat. Matters of gender and sexual morality are wedges to separate “fundamentalists” from mainstream society. COVID-19 has been increasingly used to lambast and isolate those who maintain a questioning attitude about what the government can do to its citizenry. More recently, the threat of domestic terrorism is being used to threaten various actions against those who will not accept the new religion. Indeed, non-believers face an ever-increasing burden in workplaces, schools, and other social contexts. We all know what we can and cannot say in the new religion.

One may wonder how we, as a society, have accepted such an all-encompassing and overbearing religion while simultaneously allowing Christianity to be practically forbidden outside of homes and churches. In the case of all quasi-dogmas of the new religion, even those involving science, the new religionists have started with an appeal to something resembling Christian charity and ended with ad hominem attacks on disbelievers. At a high level, the process resembles one that St. Ignatius described in his Spiritual Exercises, as a rule for discerning spirits:

“The bad spirit knows well how to transform himself into an angel of light. Aware of the pious desires of the soul, he will begin by seconding them, but soon he will begin to lead it to his own ends. Thus, at first he will feign to consent to your good and holy thoughts and even applaud them, but by degrees he will draw you into his hidden snares and entangle you in his dark meshes.”

Thus we all know that it is sinful to hate another person, and even worse to act on that hatred. The new religion seconds this pious attitude and then insists on classifying new ways in which people commit hateful acts: not abasing oneself for the real or imagined sins of our ancestors, believing in traditional family morality, killing future generations by doubting climate change, and killing elderly people by doubting the necessity of closing churches in response to COVID-19. It might be easy enough to ignore all of this sophistry but there is tremendous social pressure to accept the new religion, and the new priests have even been increasingly successful in enacting laws to enforce such acceptance.

Given that this new religion is much more coercive than Christianity ever was in America, we understandably wonder how it became so dominant. After all, would that not violate the principle of separation of church and state they hold dear?

One might be tempted to answer that the new religion does not contain a comprehensive body of beliefs like Christianity. This would be persuasive were it not for the fact that the new religionists do not simply ban Catholicism, or the various Protestant religions, from the public square but rather everything that can be tied to Christian beliefs. Hence, the real target is anything that points to Christ. In this light, we can see that the new religion is actually more “dogmatic” and comprehensive than the fragments of Christianity that it bans from the public square.

The only plausible answer is that new religion is acceptable because it does not yet openly profess a god. Instead, the priests of the new religion allow its adherents to maintain any god they prefer, so long as it is not the actual Jesus Christ. Here we confront the great secret of the new religion, one that St. Pius X saw over one hundred years ago in his letter to the French Bishops on the Sillon—the new religion harnesses, for its own purposes, the counterfeit Catholicism that has misguided so many souls since Vatican II:

“And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sadness, We ask Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this organization which formerly afforded such promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous stream, has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable effluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer.”

All of this fits what we see today, tragically. St. Pius X writes that the tyrannical new religion is “more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men to become brothers and comrades at last in the ‘Kingdom of God.’”

The counterfeit version of Catholicism is truly essential to the success of the new religion—such a “church” attracts souls that would otherwise fight for the Mystical Body of Christ and it also lends its supposed authority to various anti-Catholic measures. One could fill volumes with descriptions of the various ways in which this false authority has attacked the Church since Vatican II, but one may see the picture in its essential details by considering the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and Al-Azhar al-Sharif, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in 2019 and recently commemorated. As the document states:

“It is a document that invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters.”

This is the new religion, which for Catholics is the Faith without Jesus Crucified. Remove Jesus Crucified and the priests of the new religion have no objection to Catholicism. This distorted view of Jesus is one that lacks the lessons of the Cross that stand in the way of the new world order: God’s great love for us, the horror of sin, and the need to faithfully carry our own crosses during the trials of life. For so long as the new religion exists, it will do all it can to shape social doctrine to make it more difficult for souls to find and accept Jesus Crucified.

In his Cross and Crown, Fr. Robert Mäder emphasizes our great need for the Crucified Christ, as Christians forget their Lord and Redeemer:

“The Crucified Christ is the sum and substance of Christianity, so that St. Paul can say, ‘I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified’ (I Cor. 2:2). The crucifixion is therefore also the main thing we should preach in our time. The most important, the most necessary and the most urgent for people today.”

In the end, the new religionists will discover that in rejecting the Crucified Christ, they are rejecting a God Who will not be mocked. Until that happens, we will likely have the distinct honor of carrying our blessed cross by upholding the only religion pleasing to God, Deo Gratias!